Sunday 24 June 2018

Leading golf club Druids Glen goes into examinership

The golf course at Druids Glen Golf Resort.
The golf course at Druids Glen Golf Resort.
Druid's Glen Golf Club Co Wicklow

Aodhan O'Faolain and Ray Managh

One of Ireland's top golf courses has gone into examinership.

Druids Glen Golf Club Ltd, which owns and operates the Druid's Glen Golf Course, sought the protection of the High Court after a financial company - which acquired a loan a related company had acquired from Anglo Irish Bank some years ago - appointed a receiver over the 18 hole championship course.

The company, Gulland Property Finance Ltd, says it is owed €4.85m by the related company and appointed a receiver over the course on Thursday after its demand to be paid what it says it is due and owing was not satisfied.

As a result Druids Glen yesterday asked the High Court to remove the receiver and have an examiner put in their place.

Druid's Glen Golf Club Co Wicklow
Druid's Glen Golf Club Co Wicklow

Druids Glen says despite the court proceedings it will be a case of "business as usual" at the course, which is located at Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow.

The course, which employs 36 people, previously hosted a number of Irish Open Golf tournaments in the 1990s, as well as the Seve Trophy in 2002 - the competition where Ireland and Britain's top professionals take on Continental Europe's top players.

Yesterday evening Mr Justice Robert Haughton appointed insolvency practioner Mr John McStay of McStay Luby Accountants as interim examiner to both Druids Glen Golf Club Ltd and Lakeford Ltd, the Isle of Man-registered company which originally had acquired the loans from Anglo.

The judge said he was satisfied to appoint Mr McStay after reading a report from an independent expert stating the companies have a reasonable prospect of survival as going concerns.

The judge also made a number of orders, including one directing the receiver to stand down. The application, which was made ex-parte, was supported by AIB which is one of the company's creditors.

The adjoining Druids Glen Five Star Hotel and a second 18 hole course, the Druids Heath Golf Course, are not part of the examinership process and are unaffected by the application.

Barrister Patrick Leonard SC for the company said his client was seeking the appointment of an interim examiner because of Gulland's appointment of a receiver.

When a receiver is appointed, the company has three days to seek to have that person removed and have an examiner appointed in their place, counsel said.

The court heard Druids Glen accepts that its related company owes significant money to Gulland, which acquired the loans from IBRC (formerly Anglo). There had been talks between the parties to address the situation, but proposals were rejected by Gulland.

Earlier this week Gulland made a demand for the loans to be repaid, resulting the appointment of a receiver.

Counsel said the appointment of Mr McStay would provide much needed reassurance to the company, its employees and its stakeholders and seek to put in place a scheme of arrangement with the creditors.

His appointment will also provide a platform to address the debt due to Gulland.

The judge made the matter returnable before the courts in two weeks time.


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